By Eric Wilson-Edge
It’s lunchtime for the crew from Anchor Bank. A dozen or so people file in and plop down wherever they find a bit of room. They’re clearly tired, a little hot and overall, very happy. Today, these bankers are trading in their forms and figures for posthole diggers and paint rollers.
Anchor Bank is sponsoring one of the 33 unit, single family homes going in at Wood’s Glenn in Lacey. The project is being spearheaded by the South Puget Sound Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. “When completed, the development will have eight four bedroom homes, 18 three bedroom homes and seven two bedroom homes with a total maximum occupancy of 135 residents,” says Habitat Executive Director Curt Andino.
Jerry Shaw started with Anchor Bank back in 1976. At the time the bank operated under the name Aberdeen Savings and Loan. Thirty-eight years later Shaw is the President and CEO. At the moment he’s sitting on a makeshift chair eating a sandwich and trying to stay cool. Shaw and his cohort, Business Banking Officer John Devine, have been out in the August sun digging holes for a new fence.
The work is long and strenuous. Both men will likely need a good stretch and a hot bath when they get home. Shaw says the work is fulfilling and necessary. “We’re living out our responsibility as members of the community.”
The break ends and everyone lumbers to their feet. I wander outside and find Matthew Partridge and Mary Reese. The couple is helping paint the exterior of a house. They hope to be able to move in later this year. 27-year-old Partridge suffers from a rare connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Think of connective tissue as glue that keeps parts of the body together and when that glue doesn’t hold thing move around. In this case, Partridge’s hips pop out of place on occasion and his knees are always loose.
Partridge and Reese’s four-year-old son also suffers from Ehlers-Danlos. At the moment he’s running around the job site inspecting the various workers and their tasks. Says Partridge, “I never had a stable set of friends and I’m really looking forward to giving my son a stable community.”
Growing up Partridge moved around and Reese lived in apartments. Matthew is currently on disability. Mary is the General Manager of a Domino’s in DuPont. This house is more than just wood and cement, it’s an opportunity. “I’m so thankful for everyone who’s helping or who will help,” says Partridge. “This will set us ahead 30 or 40 years. We have an asset, something that’s ours.”
Terri Degner has stains on her shirt and pants. The 25-year employee of Anchor Bank doesn’t seem to mind or even notice. Degner is the CFO for Anchor but today she’s painting fence boards. This idea of rolling up your sleeves and getting to work is part of her philosophy and is a big reason she’s stayed with the company for so long. “We try to help out in all the communities where we have branches,” says Degner.
The site hums with the rhythm of rollers and the steady chomping of posthole diggers as they strike dirt. The homes at Wood’s Glenn are coming along. Three are near completion and others are getting started. The task would be almost impossible if not for help from the community. “Volunteers make the mission happen,” says Andino. Whether it’s giving away 200 hand-built birdhouses at Sand in the City, working in our store or building a home for a needy family, our volunteers represent the best of our community’s goodwill and desire to make a difference.”